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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #13-0085 ([UPS] [Mr. Samuel S. Elkind])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: UPS

Individual Name: Mr. Samuel S. Elkind

Location State: GA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

July 9, 2013

 

Mr. Samuel S. Elkind
Corporate Regulated Goods Manager
UPS
55 Glenlake Parkway, NE
Atlanta, GA 30328-3474

Ref. No. 13-0085

Dear Mr. Elkind:

This responds to your April 18, 2013 letter seeking clarification of immediate notification requirements in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180), when § 171.15(b)(6) specifies one must immediately notify the National Response Center (NRC) of an incident during transportation by aircraft that occurred as a direct result of a battery or battery-powered device.  Specifically you ask what circumstances would trigger the requirement that you immediately notify the NRC of such an incident.  Your questions are paraphrased and answered below.

Q1.  Does the phrase “during transportation by aircraft” in § 171.15(b)(6) mean that the only incidents that must be immediately reported are those when the battery or battery-powered device has been loaded on an aircraft and the incident occurred on the aircraft during transportation?

A1.  No.  Section 171.1(c) states that transportation of a hazardous material in commerce begins when a carrier takes physical possession of the hazardous material for the purpose of transporting it and continues until the package containing the hazardous material is delivered to the destination…”   Section 171.15(b)(6) specifies that a telephone report is required whenever any of the following occurs during the course of transportation in commerce (including loading, unloading, and temporary storage):
during transportation by aircraft, a fire, violent rupture, explosion or dangerous evolution of heat ( i.e. , an amount of heat sufficient to be dangerous to packaging or personal safety to include charring of packaging, melting of packaging, scorching of packaging, or other evidence) occurs as a direct result of a battery or battery-powered device.  As further evidence to the intent of § 171.15(b)(6), the immediate notification requirement for batteries or battery-powered devices was added to the HMR  in response to incidents that occurred as a direct result of a battery or battery-powered device either on board an aircraft in cargo, checked, or in carry-on baggage, or in ground transport facilities associated with air transportation.  Accordingly, the phrase “during transportation by aircraft” in § 171.15(b)(6) includes incidents that occur in the course of performing pre-transportation functions for air shipments.  

Q2.  If there is no outward evidence that a dangerous evolution of heat has occurred, such as charring, melting or scorching, but the battery or battery-powered device requires attention, concern, or action on the part of the carrier, such as it is warm to the touch or is vibrating, must a carrier comply with the requirements of § 171.15(b)(6)?

A2.  No, unless another condition set forth in § 171.15(b) has occurred, you are not required to immediately notify the NRC if there is no evidence that a battery or battery-powered device caused a fire, violent rupture, explosion or dangerous evolution of heat and there is no evidence of amount of heat sufficient to be dangerous to packaging or personal safety.

I hope this answers your inquiry. If you need additional assistance, please contact this office at 202-366-8553.

Sincerely,

Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

171.15(b)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.15 Immediate notice of certain hazardous materials incidents